Love it or hate it, social media is having a huge impact on the world and it is one that I view optimistically.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are the newest forms of communication and they are working to build better communities. There are some interesting trends that have developed over facebook in conjunction with Twitter and Youtube, that are causing people to be more reflective, more compassionate and better informed.

Take for instance #ThrowbackThursdays – this is a general call for users to post old pictures of themselves to share with their community.  It requires people to dig through their past and gain  little reflection in the process. Or the growing trend to capture everything on video. From kittens wrestling to puppies playing, video producers are everywhere adding a creative drive to new media that is reshaping the entertainment world.

But perhaps the most significant impact of social media is its ability to allow knowledge to grow and expand. No longer can editors act as gate-keepers, deciding what is important and what is not. In a world were pictures, videos and words can be shared with the click of a button the opportunity to learn has never been more accessible. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used as a weapon, or a form of defense – think of all the videos that have come out exposing assault, pushing people to be more.  The real strength of social media rests in its ability to expose injustice and the hidden messages that rest just under the surface.

Take for example politics. Over the past century land developers have influenced politicians to build infrastructure that will increase their property values. They might push for a railway station that connects to their property in order to increase their property value, or they might go further and influence the design of the entire rail line to have fewer stops in order to increase their land value even further – the demand for space near the stop will be much greater. However social media can easily expose this sort of corruption. Property ownership is easy to find online, connections between developers and those who created the design can be easily exposed. Can you imagine the damage that could be done to a politician promoting a rail line with few stops through the city if social media exposed that the design for the line was created by developers with property at those stops?  No longer can a group of land developers push through a poor design. No longer can politicians get away with paying off their sponsors. Social media is just starting to shape the way our society moves forward and I for one am looking forward to the impacts it will have on our future.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s amusing to read Sarah Thomson talking about the hypothetical role of social media in exposing political corruption, exactly one month after she used social media to spread her own made-up allegations of political corruption. To wit, she started tweeting out of nowhere that Jonathan Goldsbie – who covered the Olivia Chow mayoral campaign for NOW Magazine – failed to disclose that his partner was Chow’s communications manager: https://twitter.com/ThomsonTO/status/552494346877296641 And true to the “optimistic” view she takes, her own BS was quickly exposed on social media – Goldsbie’s partner never had any connection to the Chow campaign: https://twitter.com/goldsbie/status/552507344618549249 https://twitter.com/dreahouston/status/552507585535148032

    The most pathetic part of the whole exchange was watching Thomson, once caught in a lie, trying to bargain down from her original position – if not comms manager, some shorter-term job? No? If not a job, a volunteer role? – as if straightforward facts were something that could meet you halfway: https://twitter.com/ThomsonTO/status/552509997419364352
    https://twitter.com/dreahouston/status/552512922359197697

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